New civics course for high schoolers moves one chamber closer to reality
The legislation had broad support in the Legislature.

civics education
Under the bill, students would receive civics education in both middle and high school.

Florida’s high schoolers could add civics literacy to their course load if legislation proposing it keeps moving.

The Senate unanimously passed legislation (SB 146) Thursday, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Brandes. The bill would require high school students to complete a newly established civics literacy course, which would include activities for civic engagement and completion of a research paper. The goal is to increase civics engagement.

Brandes called the bill a ‘unicorn’ because it had no amendments added throughout committee process.

Brandes didn’t say much on the bill in Thursday’s floor Session instead saying he wanted to “quit while he’s ahead” since similar legislation (SB 918) he filed last year died.

The bill directs the Commissioner of Education to establish minimum requirements for the program.

The bill’s analysis said the course will “help students evaluate roles, rights, and responsibilities of United States citizens and identify methods of active participation in society, government, and the political system.”

The bill directs the course to be nonpartisan.

The hours a student spends on the civic engagement activity may be counted toward community service requirements for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

The bill would also create a Citizen Scholar Program within the University of South Florida. The program would allow students to implement academic instruction and concepts learned in the classroom in the local community.

House companion legislation (HB 611) is ready for the House floor.

If the legislation becomes law, the course would be implemented for the first time in the 2022-2023 school year.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected].


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